NEW HANOVER COUNTY, NC (WWAY) — Tammy Pruden knew she wanted to become a teacher the minute she stepped into a classroom as a volunteer. She said her connection with one little girl was enough to seal her fate.

Pruden has been a teacher now for 19 years. For nearly two decades she has worked with students with mild and moderate intellectual disabilities at Hoggard High School.

“You pour in all your heart and everything you’ve got every day to make the lives of the students in your class better,” Pruden said.

Understand yourself and finding confidence can be difficult for anyone, especially when you need a little extra help finding your voice.

“One of the challenges is helping them understand that they can make choices,” Pruden said. “Their choices matter.”

Every day the class works on life and community skills, which Pruden says helps shows them individually “they can live the life they want to live.”

“Seeing them struggle a little bit being their own person and then becoming who they want to be is challenging but its so rewarding when you see it happen,” she said.

The day starts off with morning group where students talk about activities they have planned or an experience they had. Next its time for learning sight words and studying, but the group manages to sneak in a little fun with dance parties every now and then.

“We see them just come out of their shell. As they’re encouraged to be independent they gain friendships and skills they didn’t think they had, “said Pruden.

Categories: Community, Features, Local, New Hanover, Teacher Of The Week

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